Act of the Senate
Treaty of Fontainebleau
Documents upon the Transition to the Restoration Monarchy
As a group these documents show how the government of France passed from Napoleon to Louis XVIII. Taken separately several of them are of additional interest. Document A should be compared with Frankfort Declaration. The indictment of the Napoleonic régime drawn in document C deserves careful attention. Documents D and F should be compared. The character of the system of government which the Senate in document E proposed to establish should be compared with that actually established by Constitutional Charter of 1814.
- Proclamation of the Allies. March 31, 1814.
The armies of the allied powers have occupied the capital of France. The allied sovereigns honor the wish of the French nation; they declare:
That if the conditions of peace must indeed include some strong guarantees when dealing with the enchaining of the ambition of Bonaparte, they must be more favorable when, by a return to a wise government, France itself shall offer assurance of repose. The sovereigns proclaim in consequence:
That they will no longer treat with Napoleon Bonaparte, nor with any member of his family.
That they respect the integrity of old France, as it was under its legitimate kings; they can even do more, because they will always respect the principle, that for the welfare of Europe it is necessary that France should be great and strong.
They will recognize and guarantee the constitution which the French nation shall give itself. In consequence, they invite the senate to designate immediately a provisional government which can look after the needs of the administration and prepare the constitution which shall be appropriate for the French people.
The intentions which I have just expressed are common to all the allied powers.
Paris, March 31, 1814.
- Act of the Senate. April 1, 1814.
The Senate resolves:
- That there shall be established a provisional government charged to look after the needs of the administration and to present to the Senate a project for a constitution which may be suitable for the French people;
- That this government shall be composed of five members.
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- Decree for Deposing Napoleon. April 3-4, 1814.
The Conservative Senate,
Considering that, in a constitutional monarchy, the monarch exists only in virtue of the constitution or of the social compact:
That Napoleon Bonaparte, during a short time of firm and prudent government, gave to the nation grounds for counting upon acts of wisdom and justice in the future; but that afterwards he broke the compact which united him with the French people, especially in raising imposts and in establishing taxes otherwise than in virtue of the law, contrary to the express tenor of the oath which he had taken at his accession to the throne, in conformity with article 53 of the constitutions of 28 Floréal, Year XII;
That he has committed this attack upon the rights of the people also when he proceeded to adjourn the Legislative Body without necessity and caused to be suppressed as criminal a report of that body, in which his title and his part in the national representation were contested;
That he has undertaken a series of wars in violation of article 50 of the act of the constitutions of 22 Frimaire, Year VIII, which provides that a declaration of war shall be proposed, discussed, decreed and promulgated as are the laws;
That he has unconstitutionally rendered several decrees involving the death penalty, especially the two of March 5th last, the tendency of which was to cause to be considered as national a war which had occurred only in the interest of his unmeasured ambition;
That he has violated the constitutional laws by his decrees upon the state prisons;
That he has destroyed the responsibility of the ministers, confounded all the powers, and destroyed the independence of the judicial bodies;
Considering that the liberty of the press, established and consecrated as one of the rights of the nation, has been constantly subjected to the arbitrary censorship of his police, and that at the same time he has always made use of the press in order to fill France and Europe with imaginary facts, false maxims, doctrines favorable to despotism, and outrages against foreign governments;
That the acts and reports agreed to by tine Senate have sustained alterations in the publication which has been made of them;
Considering that instead of reigning with a sole view to the interest, welfare and glory of the French people, according to the terms of his oath, Napoleon has put the capstone to the misfortunes of the fatherland by his refusal to treat for conditions which the national interest would oblige him to accept and which did not compromise French honor;
By the abuse which he has made of all the means in men and money which have been confided to him;
By the abandonment of the wounded without the dressing of their wounds, without relief, and without food;
By different measures of which the results were the ruin of the cities, the depopulation of the country, famine and contagious diseases;
Considering that by all these causes the imperial government, established by the senatus-consultum of 28 Floréal. Year XII, has ceased to exist, and that the express wish of all Frenchmen calls for an order of things of which the first result may be the re-establishment of the general peace, and which may be also the epoch of a solemn reconciliation among all the states of the great European family;
The Senate declares and decrees as follows:
- Napoleon Bonaparte has forfeited the throne, and the right of inheritance established in his family is abolished.
- The French people and army are absolved from the oath of fidelity to Napoleon Bonaparte.
- The present decree shall be transmitted by a message to the provisional government of France, sent at once to all the departments and to the armies, and proclaimed immediately in all the quarters of the capital.
- First Abdication of Napoleon. April 4, 1814.
The allied powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he is ready to descend from the throne, to leave France and even to lay down his life for the welfare of the fatherland, which cannot lie separated from the rights of his son, those of the regency of the Empress, and the laws of the Empire.
Done at our palace of Fontainebleau, April 4, 1814.
- The Senate's Proposed Constitution.
The Conservative Senate, deliberating upon the project of a constitution which has been presented to it by the provisional government, in execution of the act of the Senate of the 1st of this month.
After having heard the report of a special commission of seven members,
Decrees as follows:
- The French government is monarchical and hereditary from male to male, by order of primogeniture.
- The French people freely summon to the throne of France Louis-Stanislas-Xavier of France, brother of the late king, and, after him, the other members of the house of Bourbon in the old order.
- The old nobility resume their titles: the new retain theirs hereditarily. The Legion of Honor is maintained with its prerogatives; the king shall determine the decoration.
- The executive power belongs to the king.
- The king, the Senate and the Legislative Body co-operate in the formation of the laws.
Projects of law can be proposed both in the Senate and in the Legislative Body.
Those relative to taxes can be proposed only in the Legislative Body.
The king can likewise invite the two bodies to occupy themselves with matters which he deems in need of consideration.
The sanction of the king is necessary for the completion of the law.
- There are at least one hundred and fifty senators and two hundred at most.
Their rank is irremovable and hereditary from male to male, by order of primogeniture. They are appointed by the king.
The present senators, with the exception of those who may renounce the attribute of French citizenship, are retained and make part of that number. The present endowment of the senate and of the senatorships belong to them. The revenues thereof are likewise divided among them and pass to their successors. In case of the death of a senator without direct male posterity, his portion returns to the public treasury. The senators who shall be appointed in the future cannot have part in this endowment.
- The princes of the royal family and the princes of the blood arc by right members of the Senate.
They cannot exercise the functions of a senator until after they have reached the age of majority.
- The Senate determines the cases in which the discussion of the matters that it treats shall be public or secret.
- Each department shall select the same number of deputies to the Legislative Body which it was sending there. The deputies who were sitting in the Legislative Body at the time of its last adjournment shall continue to sit there until their replacement. All shall retain their stipend.
For the future they shall be directly chosen by the electoral colleges, which are retained, subject to the changes which may be made by a law upon their organization.
The duration of the functions of the deputies of the Legislative Body is fixed at five years.
New elections shall take place for the session of 1816.
- The Legislative Body assembles of right October 1st of each year. The king can convoke it extraordinarily. He can adjourn it; he can also dissolve it; but in this last case, another Legislative Body must be formed, within three months at the latest, by the electoral colleges.
- The Legislative Body has the right of discussion. The sittings are public, except in the case in which it thinks that it is expedient to form itself into committee of the whole.
- The Senate, the Legislative Body, the electoral colleges, and the cantonal assemblies, elect their presidents from within their own midst.
- No member of the Senate or of the Legislative Body can be arrested without a prior authorization of the body to which he belongs.
The trial of an accused member of the Senate or of the Legislative Body belongs exclusively to the Senate.
- The ministers can be members either of the Senate or of the Legislative Body.
- Equality of proportion in taxation is a matter of right. No tax can be established or collected, unless it has been freely consented to by the Legislative Body and the Senate. The land tax can be established only for one year. The budget of the following year and the accounts of the preceding year are presented each year to the Legislative Body and the Senate at the opening of the session of the Legislative Body.
- The law shall determine the mode and the quota of the recruiting for the army.
- The independence of the judicial authority is guaranteed. Nobody can be deprived of his natural judges.
The jury system is retained, as well as publicity of proceedings in criminal matters.
The penalty of confiscation of goods is abolished.
The king has the right to grant pardons.
- The ordinary courts and tribunals actually in existence are retained; their number cannot be increased nor diminished except in virtue of a law. The judges are for life and are irremovable, with exception of the justices of the peace and the commercial judges. The extraordinary commissions and tribunals are suppressed, and they cannot be re-established.
- The court of cassation, the courts of appeal and the tribunals of first instance propose to the king three candidates for each position as judge which is vacant in their body; the king chooses one of the three. The king appoints the first presidents and the public minister of the courts and tribunals.
- Military men in active service, officers and soldiers in retirement, pensioned widows and officers, preserve their ranks, their honors and their pensions.
- The person of the king is inviolable and sacred. All acts of the government are signed by a minister. The ministers are responsible for everything which these acts may contain which is injurious to the laws, to public and private liberty, and to the rights of citizens.
- Liberty of worship and of conscience is guaranteed. The ministers of the religious bodies are likewise paid and protected.
- The liberty of the press is complete, saving the legal repression of offences which might result from the abuse of that liberty. The senatorial commissions of liberty of the press and of personal liberty are retained.
- The public debt is guaranteed. The sales of the national lands are irrevocably maintained.
- No Frenchman can be called to account for the opinions or votes which lie may have given.
- Any person has the right to address individual petitions to any constituted authority.
- All Frenchmen arc equally eligible to all civil and military employments.
- All actually existing laws remain in force until they may be legally altered. The code of civil laws shall be entitled Civil Code of the French.
- The present constitution shall be submitted for the acceptance of the French people in the form which shall be regulated. Louis-Stanislas-Xavier shall be proclaimed King of the French, as soon as he shall have sworn and signed by an act declaring: I accept the constitution; I swear to observe it and cause it to be observed. This oath shall be reiterated in the solemn ceremony by which he shall receive the oath of fidelity of the French.
Second Abdication of Napoleon. April 11, 1814.
The allied powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces, for himself, and for his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, even that of life, which he would not be ready to make in the interest of France.
Done at the palace of Fontainebleau, April 11, 1814.
- Treaty of Fontainebleau. April 11, 1814.
His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon of the one part, and their Majesties the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia and the Emperor of all the Russias, stipulating both in their names and in those of their allies, ...
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- His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon renounces for himself, his successors and descendants, as well as for all the members of his family, all right of sovereignty and dominion, as well to the French Empire and the Kingdom of Italy as to every other country.
- Their Majesties the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Maria Louisa shall retain their titles and ranks, to be enjoyed during their lives. The mother, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the Emperor shall retain, wherever they may be, the title of princes of his family.
- The island of Elba, adopted by His majesty the Emperor Napoleon as the place of his residence, shall form during his life, a separate principality, which shall be possessed by him inn full sovereignty and ownership. There shall be given besides, in full property, to the Emperor Napoleon, an annual revenue of 2,000,000 francs in rentes upon the ledger of France of which 1,000,000 shall be in reversion to the Empress.
- The Duchies of Parma, Piacenza, the Guastalla shall be given in full ownership and sovereignty to Her Majesty the Empress Maria Louisa. They shall pass to her son, and to his descendants in the direct line. The prince, her son, shall take from this moment the title of Prince of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla.
- There shall be reserved in the countries which the Emperor Napoleon renounces for himself and his family domains or dower of rentes upon the ledger of France producing a net annual income, after deduction of all charges is made of 2,500,000 francs. These domains or rentes shall belong in full ownership, and to be disposed of as shall seem good to them, to the princes and princesses of his family and shall be apportioned among them in such a manner that the income of each may be in the following proportion:
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Title: The constitutions and other select documents illustrative of the history of France, 1789-1901
Author(s): Anderson, Frank Maloy, 1871-
Publication: Minneapolis, The H.W. Wilson company,
Description: xxvi, 671 p. p., 20 cm.
Fournier. Napoleon. 672-678: Rose, Napoleon, II, 389-398; Seignobos, Europe Since 1814, 104-105; Cambridge Modern History IX, 555-559: Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire générale, IX. 881-888: Sorel. L'Europe et Ia révolution française, VIII, 316-325 ; Jaurès, Histoire socialiste, VII, 6-25.
Placed on the Napoleon Series 5/00